Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

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Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Jonathan Church, PhD


This research examines the many actors and ideological movements at the intersection of sexuality, agency, and power that influence lalas to create their identities. Critiquing notions of sex, gender, and sexuality via Chinese lala experience not only reveals fissures and discontinuities in the "reality" of these categories, but also de-essentializes Western notions of the normal queer. Rather than being an extension of the queer movement in the West, the tongzhi movement in China is unique and although Western imaginings construct its own queerness as the first and only in the world, these struggles have always been forthcoming in other parts of the world. As non-normative movements can greatly inform each other, there is no value in pushing the Western queer movement as the key to sexual liberation in other societies in the world; rather, it proves effective to continue critique on the matter and extent of humanity. If in queer theory our inquiry revolves around subjects claiming agency in the world, then it is a queer anthropology that allows us to examine of our repeated dependency, our continued struggle to map and be mapped in that which is “human.”